How did you get started? Tell us your story!
My name is Noel Anthony Booker II, but I go by 'Nemo The Zeus', or just Nemo for short. I was born in Atlanta, GA on May 10th, 1998. My father was a DJ and a key member in the hip hop collective Nation Time Syndicate in the early '90s. The collective's goal was to preserve hip hop culture in Atlanta, so my love for music was instilled into me at a very young age, whether I knew it or not. When I was a kid, I didn't even know I wanted to do music but I was always creative. I would write bars occasionally and trash them, not thinking I would need them.
My main focus was on architecture, drawing, and editing videos. Musically, my parents exposed me to Outkast, Biggie Smalls, Erykah Badu, and whatever was playing on the radio. When I got old enough to discover my own music, I gravitated towards Tech N9ne, Lil Wayne, Odd Future, Young Thug and many other rappers. I loved the message in the music I was listening to, which made me want to learn the lyrics, flows and beats of every song I listened to. I did extensive research on my favorite artists. I wanted to learn where they came from and how they came up. Earl Sweatshirt became my favorite rapper because his wordplay is unmatched and his message was so relatable.
Tyler The Creator quickly became my idol because I was enamored by his passion for creating anything and making it a business. I loved how different and detailed his music was, but I was even more impressed by the fact that he produces and composes all of it. One day in 2014, I saw him create one of my favorite songs from scratch. I just said "screw it" and downloaded FL Studio. Then, I just started playing around on it every day. When I got to high school, I was surrounded by plenty of talented DIY creatives that were launching promising careers (such as Warhol.SS, Trgc, Jak Bannon, and Faye Webster) and I was inspired by their drive. The same year I started making beats, I started writing poetry to get my internal thoughts out.
I went with the name 'Nemo The Zeus' because Nemo represents a different looking kid that was lost and went through life domestically imprisoned and traumatized until he was saved. Zeus represents the confidence of a god. I was hoping that one day those poems would lead to me being a voice for anyone that felt alienated, bullied, unloved, or overlooked. In 2016, I entered the underground scene as an amateur photographer. The more I did it, the more frustrated I got because it wasn't making a lot of money and I knew deep down I could rap better than most of the rappers I was surrounded by. In 2017, I began writing raps and recording them. This led me to release my first song on Soundcloud, "Like This", which did okay, but I didn't capitalize on its buzz.
I put all my attention into my first EP, Bittersweet, which dropped in March 2018, exclusively on SoundCloud & Bandcamp. Testing the waters, I performed at several house parties and small underground functions to network and get used to the mic because I was still uncomfortable with my voice. In March 2019, I released an experimental lo-fi hip hop EP called Black Rose on Soundcloud that featured production from STLNDRMS. The few that listened really appreciated my lyrics but I didn't gain much of a buzz so I focused on recreating my sound. From then on, I refined my beats and never looked back. Even when my laptop crashed, I would find a way to make as many beats as I could so I can get ready for my next project.
What is your experience in the music industry? Do you have any formal training or schooling? If not, are you self-taught and how did you learn your craft? What is your learning style? What are your favorite educational resources (ex. college, Youtube, etc.)?
Almost everything I know is self-taught. I took a music production class in high school but it only taught the very basics. I learned to edit videos, make beats, record, graphic design & photography from messing around in programs and watching YouTube videos. I pride myself on being a fast learner.
What are some credits and achievements that you have? Who have you worked with? Who have you collaborated with?
Right now, I co-host the Lowmid Podcast on DeadEndHipHop with my friends. So far, I've worked with several underground Atlanta artists such as JSSAPP, Lotus, Mumble Bee & many more.
Who are your biggest influences growing up and why? Who do you like to listen to now and why? Who’s on your playlist right now?
My biggest musical influences are Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler The Creator, Quentin Miller, XXXTentacion, Young Thug, Nick Mira & Pierre Bourne. Right now, I listen to a lot of different rappers. I mainly listen to Lil Gotit, Lil Uzi Vert, XXXTentacion, and a bunch local artists.
What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered or faced in this industry?
One time I performed my favorite song from Bittersweet at an all-white house party, but, 3 bars in, I froze and completely forgot my lines. Everybody walked away and I just stopped. I wanted redemption so at my next performance I invited all my friends so I could feel their energy and have a good show. None of them showed up. It taught me I'm truly alone when it comes to chasing my dreams.
How would you describe your sound and style?
Melodic trap with impactful 808s and lyrics about overcoming depression.
What are some of your goals this year?
This year, I plan to release 2 different projects. One is a beat tape inspired by Metro Boomin's, All Heroes Wear Capes. It features verses from myself and many other talented artists in Atlanta, so be on the lookout for that. Later in the year, I plan to drop my 3rd solo project, Vine City Vacation, entirely produced by me. My main goal is to evolve the sound of the underground music scene.
Who are the top 3 artists, producers, engineers, videographers, or others you would want to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
Tyler The Creator, Fulltac (videographer) & Pierre Bourne.
What is your creative process like?
It depends on my momentum. Most of the time I'll create a lot of beats during the week and record on weekends, but sometimes I'll get very discouraged with my music and just focus on writing bars or learning.
What’s your favorite go-to order?
Son of a Baconator at Wendy's with Sprite (no ice) or an Orange Hi-C. That, or just a simple pizza. Anything except pineapples.